This Pan-Seared Cod with Cherry Tomato and Basil sauce is the perfect quick midweek dinner. We are always looking for ways to incorporate fish into our family’s diets and this is a great way to do it. Filled with fresh basil, fragrant garlic, and juicy cherry tomatoes it’s no wonder this holds a top spot in our family’s dinner rotation.
If you are not crazy about fish, cod is a great place to start. It has a delicate flakey texture and a very mild flavor that adapts to additional ingredients well. It can be seared, baked, fried, poached, or broiled. It’s a great fish to substitute into any saucy recipe and would be great fried with chips.
This recipe is adapted from Baker by Nature’s “Pan Seared Cod”.
Here’s what you’ll need for our Pan-Seared Cod with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
Things to keep in mind:
- Sear skin side down: For fish with the skin on, always pat the fish dry with some paper towels to remove excess moisture and score it with a knife. Let your pan properly heat up, then place your fish skin side down. LEAVE IT ALONE! Don’t mess with it and try and move it around. You can visually watch it cook. When the color of the fish has changed 3/4 of the way up, it’s time to flip it over. This will ensure a properly crispy skin.
- Fishy Smell: You know what we are talking about. That smell that slaps you in the face when you walk by the fish stand at the supermarket. It’s what turns a lot of people off about fish and is an immediate indication of whether your fish is fresh or not. If you cant get a really fresh piece of fish, flash-frozen (fully thawed) is a great budget-friendly option.
- Non-stick pan: This is your best friend when pan-searing fish, it will help prevent the cod from sticking and tearing when flipping.
Let’s make the Cherry Tomato and Basil sauce:
This cherry tomato and basil sauce is bursting with deliciously strong flavors. Fragrant Garlic, spicy chili flakes, herbaceous basil, and tart lemon. They all come together beautifully to form the base of this meal.
Heat some olive oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Add in crushed red pepper flakes(optional) and garlic, cook until fragrant about 1-2 minutes.
Then we are going to add the cherry tomatoes. Try and find firm cherry tomatoes, they will hold up in the sauce much better. We are going to cook these, stirring occasionally for 9-12 min until the tomato’s skin starts to wrinkle and blister.
Add in the chicken stock (or vegetable stock) and allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer. Stir in basil + lemon zest + lemon juice + salt + pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Immediately pour them into a bowl and set aside while we prepare the fish. That’s it! Cherry tomato and basil sauce done! Let’s move on to the cod.
Pan-searing the cod
Fish is one of the easiest things to cook with the proper technique. Cod specifically is very forgiving. First, we’re going to score the skin side of the fish. This encourages a crispy skin, helps to prevent the fish from curling up, allows the seasoning to penetrate better, and allows the center to cook more evenly. First, pat the fish on both sides with a paper towel to remove any moisture. With your left-hand squeeze the long side of the fishes edges down so the center of the fish bulges up. Use a very sharp knife (use a serrated bread knife if your knife is not sharp enough) and cut through the skin about .5cm down, make 3-4 cuts along the skin side of your fish leaving 1.5cm in between.
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. If your pan is not large enough sear these in batches. Place cod skin side down and cook for 4 minutes. Carefully flip the cod over and cook the other side for 3-4 depending on the thickness of the fish.
Bringing it all together
Pour the cherry tomato and basil sauce over the pan-seared cod and bring to a simmer to warm the sauce through, serve immediately.
Make Ahead Tip
If you are entertaining or want to make this an even quicker dinner, you can make the sauce ahead and keep it in the fridge. When it’s time to serve, warm up the sauce in a separate saucepan while you cook the cod. When your cod is ready pour the sauce over the cod and serve.
If you try this Pan-Seared Cod with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #thetablediaries on Instagram. We love seeing all the recipes you and your family enjoy.
Pan Seared Cod with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
For the Cherry Tomato and Basil Sauce
- 500 grams cherry tomatoes halved
- 5 cloves garlic
- 3/4 cups chicken or vegtable stock
- 1.5 cups basil measure whole then chop
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp chili flakes optional
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
For the Cod
- 4 pieces cod Around 250 grams per piece
- 2 tbsp olive oil tbsp olive oil
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
Cherry Tomato and Basil Sauce
- Add olive to a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Add in crushed red pepper flakes and garlic, cook until fragrant.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until the skin on the tomatoes starts to blister, 9-12 min.
- Add in the chicken stock and allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer.
- Stir in basil + lemon zest + lemon juice + salt + pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the sauce to a bowl and set aside.
Searing the Cod
- Pat your cod with some paper towels to make sure they are dry. Score the cod on the skin side. Season with salt and pepper(both sides).
- Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
- Place cod skin side down and cook for 4 minutes. Carefully flip the cod over and cook the other side for 3-4 depending on the thickness of the fish.
- Pour the cherry tomato basil sauce over the cod and bring to a simmer to warm through. Serve immediately.